If it’s any consolation, Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. delos Reyes was right when he said the poor need a mayor more than the rich do, that they need a local chief executive that they can run to.
In his State of the City Address (SOCA), his last before the 2016 polls, the philanthropist-businessman said he cried “tears of blood” over the difficulty of serving Talisay city with critics in the legislature cutting his budgets.
Delos Reyes said he spent P200,000 of his own money to do his job. He mentioned putting up the cash incentive to reward police officers who captured crime suspects.
The Talisay City mayor was likely referring to the cuts in his intelligence fund rather than the overall P500 million plus budget given to him by the City Council instead of the P1 billion plus he asked for.
In this aspect, it is JVR’s unfortunate burden that he is saddled not only with the debts of his predecessor, former mayor Socrates Fernandez, but must also deal with political blocs comprised of his rival former congressman Eduardo Gullas and another headed by Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante who are targeting the city’s mayoral post.
It was no small coincidence that JVR made his address at the Tabunok public market which used to be occupied by stall holders and vendors before they were transferred by Gullas to a modern market named after the father of his then patron the former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
These were the “tired, poor masses” JVR used to help before running for office in 2013 so he could serve them more in government.
JVR’s dream to build a new complex there in the poblacion will remain a dream if he can’t get along with the City Council.
The council isn’t keen on his proposal to take out another loan for the project even as they put down his management skills and distrust the choice of appointing his son, John Yre delos Reyes, as city administrator.
The mayor need not cry “tears of blood” though to get funds for his priorities. Like his neighbor Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, JVR could try harder to tap the private sector and entice companies to take a chance in his city.
But this he should have focused on much earlier instead of being weighed down by political intramurals.
JVR is a man with a good heart. But his people skills with the “masa” can’t make up for lack of executive skills and political leadership to sustain development in Talisay City.
Talisay City residents will decide next year whether they can trust him enough to give him another three years in office.
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